Towards a Healthier Africa: The Role of Africa CDC in Advancing Sustainable Development Goals

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The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention was established in January 2016 by the 26th Ordinary Assembly of Heads of State and Government and officially launched in January 2017. Africa CDC operates as a continental independent healthcare agency of the African Union. The agency aims to support public health initiatives of Member States and further strengthen the capacity of their public health institutions to discover, prevent, control and react swiftly and effectively to the threats posed by such disease.

Standing as a beacon of hope for Africa’s health and development, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provides a detailed framework to cater to the continent’s pressing challenges. The SDGs chart a pathway towards a healthier and more prosperous future by responding to the significant burden of poverty, disease and inequality in Africa. Sustainable development can’t be achieved without the improvement of health results; hence, these goals lay emphasis on the relationship between development and health.

The Current Landscape of Health in Africa

The landscape of health in Africa is full of several factors which include but are not limited to maternal and child health issues, infectious diseases, health system and challenges non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Significant successes have been recorded in some areas while some still have major setbacks. Equally, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other emerging poor health conditions continue high rates of public health challenges.

There are also high rates of maternal and child health challenges the in many parts of the continent. The consistency of growth maintained by diabetes, diseases, cancer, cardiovascular have presented developing burdens on health system embattling infectious diseases. Inadequate funding, insufficient human resources, weak health infrastructure and restricted access to important services. All of these hinder efforts to improve health success in Africa.

Key Challenges Facing Africa

Africa faces an array of health challenged that hinder the actualization of the Sustainable Development Goals. Some of these challenges which include Inadequate Healthcare Amenities, with major prevalence in rural areas hence contribute to the limited accessibility to important services and disparities in health results. There is also the Weak Health Systems which was characterized by inadequate skilled healthcare workers, shortage of funds and scarcity of efficient supply chains that undermine the deliverability of quality healthcare services needed.

Moving forward, Africa faces socio-economic war which include but aren’t limited to inadequate education, poverty, and gender inequality. Compounding these challenges are the environmental factors which include pollution, climate change and inadequate sanitation which contribute to the prevalence of both communicable and incommunicable diseases.

Impact of These Challenges on the Achievement of SDGs

These challenges earlier highlighted aren’t without impact on the SDGs; they have significant influence vis-à-vis the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. The first one is the poor health outcomes. This paves way for high mortality rate and diseases burden which undermine making a headway toward SDG 3 with the focus of ensuring lives and promote well-being for everyone.

Inadequate healthcare infrastructure and weak health systems also attack every effort to actualize SDG 3.8 (Universal Health Coverage). This places millions of Africans on inaccessible essential medical services. It is also relevant to mention that health gap immortalize chains of poverty and inadequate and by implication hinders success towards SDG 1 (No Poverty) and SDG 10 (Reduced Inequality).

Pollution and climate change are parts of the environmental health challenges that resonate with SDG 6 (Clean Water Sanitation) and SDG 13 (Climate Action); however, they further complicate efforts to having an improved healthcare outcomes.

To address these challenges calls for holistic and strong political commitment, multi-sectoral approach, investment in strengthening healthcare and interventions such as Africa CDC with the sole aim of addressing these determinants of healthcare inconsistencies on the soil of Africa.

Africa’s CDC’s Contribution to Health Improvement

Africa’s CDC has an array of contributions to improve healthcare services for member states in Africa. From the body’s initiatives and programs, to the success stories and case studies, the efforts of Africa CDC shall be unveiled below:

Initiatives and Programs Launched by Africa CDC

AfricaCDC has overseen several initiatives and program aimed at improving healthcare across Africa continent. Africa Pathogen Genomics Initiatives (APGI) is one key initiative that strengthens Africa’s capacity for genomic surveillance of infectious disease. Africa CDC, through APGI, partners with member states to enhance laboratory systems. The body also trains personnel and conduct genomic in sequence to monitoring outbreak of diseases and pathogens’ evolution.

Also, Africa CDC partnered with Accelerate Covid-19 Testing (PACT). PACT spans across the continent to scale-up COVID-19 testing capacity and improve diagnostics. The initiatives facilitates the procurement and distribution of testing supplies, creates a support base to establish testing laboratories, and trains healthcare workers to conduct testing accurately.

Moving on, Africa’s CDC Regional Collaborating Centers (RCCs) host the disease surveillance, data analysis and emergency response coordination. These foster collaboration among member states, regional and sub-regional stakeholders to battle infectious disease appropriately.

Success Stories and Case Studies Highlighting Positive Outcomes

The initiatives and programs of Africa CDC have brought considerably huge successes and positive results in a bid to advance health improvement in Africa. For example, the outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) had Africa CDC deploy Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) with the view to providing technical assistance to local healthcare bodies. From rapid detection to containment efforts, and contact tracing, these RRTs contribute to the control of Ebola outbreak in the DRC.

Again, the impacts of PACT initiative helped to expand COVID-19 testing capacity in Africa, which resulted to early testing rates cum early detection of cases and improved response to the pandemic.


The Africa APGI also fosters the identification and tracking of emerging variants of concern and devising for public health measures and vaccine development strategies. All of these highlight the role of Africa CDC in charting a pathway for a healthier continent.

Collaboration and Partnerships

Africa CDC’s Partnerships with Governments, NGOs, and International Organizations.

Africa CDC acknowledges the essence of partnership and collaboration in solving complicated health challenges across Africa. The body works closely with Government, Non-Governmental Organizations, and International Bodies to leverage resources, seek expertise and networks for satisfactory impact. By strategically partnering with national health ministries, Africa CDC tailors its initiatives with country-specific agenda with sustainable goals.

The body works with NGOs and civil society organizations to reach marginalized populations, promote community engagement and improve health systems at the grassroots level. Africa CDC also partners with World Health Organization, the United Nations and African Union to unite efforts and share best practices in a bid to advocate for policy harmonization in addressing global health challenges.

Benefits of Collaborative Efforts in Achieving SDGs

When organizations collaborate, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) becomes easier. Collaborative initiatives can speed up progress towards health-related SDG targets when resources, knowledge and expertise are harmonized.

Partnership also activates technology transfer, innovative solutions and capacity-building opportunities which foster local ownership and sustainable developmental interventions. It is also worthy to note that collaborative efforts improve coordination and coherence in policy-making and execution; thereby, reducing copying of efforts in an attempt to maximize impact and achieve needed developmental interventions.

Future Prospects and Recommendations

Potential Areas for Africa CDC to Expand Its Initiatives

Forging ahead, Africa CDC has several area of opportunities for expansion of its initiatives and further solidify public health systems across the soil of Africa. The body can check into establishing regional disease surveillance networks to strengthen service delivery in early detection and rapid response to any infectious disease outbreaks. This can be done by working close with regional, sub-regional and international partners such as the World Health Organization, and the African Union for maximization of impact.

Africa CDC can also look into the expansion of the capacity-building wing by focusing on health workforce general and specific training and development. When investments are made in that regard, especially in undeserved regions, Africa CDC can enhance the member states’ ability to react to health emergencies and deliver essential healthcare services.

Recommendations for Policymakers and Stakeholders to Support Africa CDC’S Goals.

The surest way to support Africa CDC’s goals is for policymakers and stakeholders to prioritize investment in public health workforce development, infrastructure and research capacity. The government of each member state should pump adequate resources to support Africa CDC’s initiatives and sustainability.

Added to that is a recommendation that policymakers prioritize policies that promote and advocate for regional cooperation and integration in addressing similar health problems. Utilizing local knowledge gotten from engaging communities and expertise will also help achieve some of Africa’s CDC goals.

Conclusively, policymakers and stakeholders can contribute to improving health outcomes and strengthen resilience against future disease’ attacks by fostering a supportive policy-inclined environment and effective resources mobilization.

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